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How to Start a Business For Free

You have an idea. That idea is going to put you on the map and make you rich beyond your wildest imagination. But before you find yourself under a waterfall of dollar bills, you have to launch the business that will bring your vision to life.

Being such a long way away from that massive influx of cash to your bank account, chances are you’re looking at launching the business on a shoestring budget—or worse, no budget at all. You’re on the ground floor, just starting out, so cash is a serious issue. 

Will that issue stop you from launching your sure thing? It doesn’t have to. Consider how companies like Microsoft and Apple famously began in garages with very little cash. Companies, from clothing subscriptions to software development outsourcing like BairseDev, have been launched with varying means. So even if you can’t land VC-level money, you don’t have to give up on your dream.

Let’s find out what you can do to get that company off the ground when you have no budget.

Bartering

Well before your company is launched, you’re going to need things like a logo, a website, marketing copy, and business cards. You’ll probably find small businesses (or individuals) in your area that take care of such needs. If your upcoming business is such that it offers a service or product, you very well might have everything you need to barter for some of those business needs.

Don’t be afraid to approach people skilled in the areas you need to see if they are willing to barter for goods and/or services. You’ll be surprised at how many small businesses and freelancers are willing to go that route.

Social Media

Even before your business launches, you need to start spreading the word. Without a budget, you can make this happen with the help of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—these are tools you must get proficient with. 

Make sure to create a Facebook page and both Instagram and Twitter accounts. Use those accounts to start building excitement about your products, services, and brand.

But don’t think social media is just a means to a promotional end. You can also find help with these tools. Like-minded people gather and are always willing to help. A perfect example is a group like Daily Dose of Greatness, whose mission is “to inspire 100,000,000 people to follow their passion and live the life of their dream. This community serves as a resource, a forum for discussion, and a platform for collaboration.” 

Search out groups like that and you’ll find answers to those questions haunting you about getting your company off the ground.

Start With a Service

Say your business is about Product X. It’s going to take money to ramp up production of that product to the point it will satisfy public demand. But what if you could come up with a service to complement that product? Service-based businesses are far cheaper to launch than those that are product-based. In fact, you can launch a service business with next to nothing in your coffers. 

Once your service-based business is generating profit, you can then begin the process of launching product X.

Use an Incubator

One of the biggest costs you’ll have to shell out is rent. If you are able to get accepted by a business incubator, you could find yourself with a free (or cheap) location to launch your business, as well as some of the funding necessary to get started.

Most business incubators will include must-have tools like wireless networking, admin support, and even production equipment. You’ll want to find an incubator related to the particular sector your company will serve, so plan on doing plenty of searching in your area.

Kickstarter

There are certain elements of starting a business that require funding — of that there is no getting around. But when you’re staring into the eyes of a completely empty piggy bank, what do you do?

You turn to Kickstarter. Kickstarter was created with this very thing in mind. In fact, the mission of the platform is to “help bring creative projects to life.”

Although this might feel like begging, it’s not. Hundreds of thousands of projects have been given a Kickstart. In fact, 453,585 projects successfully launched since Kickstarter was founded in 2009. Why not make yours the next? After all, even though you might be able to get the skeleton of your business off the ground with zero budget, even software outsourcing services need funds to be truly successful.

Conclusion

Don’t give up. That brilliant idea of yours deserves to be launched. With a lot of upfront work and seriously creative thinking, your business will get off the ground. Persistence is your best friend and community your ally.

The views expressed by PulseBlueprint’s contributors may not align with PulseBlueprint’s own views or the views of any of the PulseBlueprint team. Want to become a contributor? Apply here.

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